I decided to spend my 28th birthday trekking the rare and endangered mountain gorillas on the border of the Congo at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. It turns out Bwindi also means impenetrable in Ugandan. The ‘Impenetrable’ Impenetrable Forest. Now I know why. I don’t think it really occured to me what I was getting myself in for when I forked out the US$275 it cost for the privilege of being only one of 6 people allowed to vist a gorilla family per day for one hour. It also didn’t really click that they were “mountain” gorillas. Call me slow-witted. Also call me unfit. It was hardcore jungle trekking up a big big mountain, across rivers and colonies of red ants, through slippery mud, thorny vines and tropical rain but what an absolute adventure getting there and I loved every minute of it.
It took us about 2 and a half hours to find them and 2 hours to get back. There were 5 in our group, plus a guide, a man with a machete to slash through the jungle and about 6 visible ‘paramilitary’ men with big guns. Unseen by us there were also countless other armed men, camouflaged in the dense green jungle and some trackers searching further ahead to help guide us to the gorillas. It was a wicked experience and one of the best ways to spend a birthday.
For details on how to book a permit go to http://www.uwa.or.ug/gorilla.html